Friday, October 31, 2008


May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.

Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight
make me a child again
just for to-night!
~Elizabeth Akers Allen

Hobgoblins know the proper way to dance:
Arms akimbo, loopy legs askew,
Leaping into darkness with delight,
Lusting for the ecstasy of fright,
Open to the charm of horrors new....
~Nicholas Gordon

On Hallowe'en the thing you must do
Is pretend that nothing can frighten you
And if somethin' scares you and you want to run
Just let on like it's Hallowe'en fun.

A gypsy fire is on the hearth,
Sign of the carnival of mirth;
Through the dun fields and from the glade
Flash merry folk in masquerade,
For this is Hallowe'en!

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!"
~Dexter Kozen

On Halloween, witches come true;
Wild ghosts escape from dreams.
Each monster dances in the park....
~Nicholas Gordon

Hark! Hark to the wind! 'Tis the night, they say,
When all souls come back from the far away-
The dead, forgotten this many a day!
~Virna Sheard

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a DAY!!

Actually it all started yesterday when Sarah and I left bright and early to get the milk for our co-op. It was an uneventful trip up but on the way back a strange animal ran right in front of us, I thought I'd hit it actually. It was fuzzy, chocolate brown, and ran like the dickens. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was a guinea pig! Anyway, we were almost home when a huge buck ran up the embankment along side the highway and caused me to very nearly stand the car on its front end. Luckily he decided not to dash into my path but turn and run up the shoulder towards us. Just as he got within about 15 feet of the car he bounded back to the woods. Absolutely amazing, would have loved a picture or two.

(Sarah and friend ready for a big night)

I picked up an extra kid when I took the milk to the drop-off house. She went with Sarah to their church's "trunk or treat". Mark joined up with us later and then we went across town to pick up his car from work. Sarah's friend spent the night and went with us to homeschool park day...

(Jackson park play area)

(pecan leaves)

(trees mid-park)

(Virginia creeper)

(park trail to the right)

(Ike damage to the left of the trail)

(Ike damage by the creek banks, I did not happen to include the picture of a homeless camp that I happened to be standing in when this pic was snapped)

(sparks of sunshine)

(hello there, I see you)

(he doesn't live here but someone probably does)

(Sarah and friend spinning)

After park, we ran by and grabbed a bite of fast food, then to Goodwill for socks and on to Kids Station for a birthday party. It was a looooong day, but oh, so enjoyable.

(girls in the ball pit)

(birthday boy)

Monday, October 27, 2008

blog fishing again....

Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op. Quite possibly the only blog you'll ever need.

I'm participating in...

over at Smiling Sally's.

(our tree should look like this again in a few weeks, I hope!)

(my mom gave these antique pretties to me last year for Christmas)

(Mark made this painted box for a Christmas present years ago. I'm not sure if this was for his mom or my mom)

(Amy drew this last year using paint)

In other news...

Around bedtime last night a blustery cold front blew in with a vengence! I've only heard the wind howling like that during a hurricane! Because of our recent room rearranging, our bed is now under the window and the tree is just feet away from us. Needless to say, it took a long time for me to get to sleep. We ended up losing several good-sized limbs and branches. One hit the house and rolled off, its about 15 feet long and as big around as my thigh! Surprisingly, none of the branches that were broken during Ike ended up on the ground. I think they are too tangled up to come loose, for now.

We've been so slammed around here that our staples are low. This almost never happens but our weekend was so hectic that we ran out of cat litter, potatoes, ice, and lunch meat! So, I have GOT to run to the grocery store. I'd much rather stay home and work on my crocheted bags though. They are coming along nicely and I hope to have several ready for Patricia to sell soon. Pictures are coming soon.

One thing we'll definitely do today is make Homesick Texan's Wacky Cake! I've heard of this cake before but I'm not sure I've ever tasted one. I hope its good! We'll doctor ours up with cayenne powder and maybe cinnamon so I'm sure it will be scarfed down.

My mom sent some Christmas ornament kits to the girls so if we have time and if they're in the mood, we may work on those a bit. One is needle-felted ornaments and one is styrafoam balls with sequins to stick on with pins.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Comfort food for everyone...

Several days ago I got hungry for my favorite festive comfort food, Broccoli Rice Casserole. Between trips running hither and yon(we have been sofreakingbusyyouhavenoidea), I managed to get the ingredients for it and had planned to make it Wednesday night. Ok, Thursday night. How 'bout Friday then? Finally! So, about that time, I discovered the absence of rice in my pantry. Grrrr. But, all was not lost...

Quinoa to the rescue! This stuff is wonderfood! Please, if you've never tried it, do so! It is awesome!!!

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole(makes a 9x13 pan)

cooking spray
1 bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
4 ribs celery, sliced
1 onion, sliced
8 oz reduced fat velveeta or cheese whiz

1-1.5 cups dry quinoa, rinsed well
about 3 cups water

Bring water and quinoa to boil, reduce heat and simmer til water is absorbed.

Cook onion and celery in non-stick skillet with cooking spray until transluscent. Add broccoli, soups and cheese product. Stir til well blended. Add quinoa and mix well. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

If anyone has knowledge of some good-for-you substitutes for the soups and cheese product, please let me know! This tasted a bit chemical-ish and I'm pretty sure its because I used the "diet" stuff. It was still comforting and gone by late this afternoon.

(what it looks like in our living room at 6:15pm)

(the west side of the driveway around the same time of day)

Speaking of the view from the driveway(and comfort foods)...

(berries are just starting to get that blue blush to them)

(we have several large bushes around the driveway)

These lovely plants are Ligustrums, don't know what variety, and are loaded with berries! In a week or so they'll all be a dark blue-purple, just like the Cedar Waxwings like them. Unfortunately, I've found out that they also cause asthma! Guess who has horrible, horrible asthma? Mark!! He is totally fine when he leaves the house in the mornings but within an hour of coming home at night he has trouble breathing. I thought I might take him to the ER several nights ago he was that bad. He's always blamed the pets for his attacks but I'm betting its the ligustrums! Much as I love the Cedar Waxwings, these plants will have to go.

Mark and I had stuff to do this morning that lasted about 3 hours longer than we'd planned. Then we found out Ryan's ride to his church's Fall Picnic had forgotten him. So, we had to run him and a friend waaaay out to Ore City. On our way back we stopped by to pick up this wonderful door from a homeschooling friend. Isn't it just gorgeous? I can't wait to get it finished and installed! Hopefully by Christmas.

(we'll have to sand this off, fix the trim, and repaint it but that's no biggie)

(the gold "leading" probably wouldn't have been my first choice but I do love the glass and it was FREE!)

Tomorrow I plan to spend most of the afternoon making cell phone carriers to sell. My friend with Herbal Grace wants me to let her sell them at some flea markets. Who knows, with the holidays coming up they just might sell! Its worth a try at least. The girls will go home with a friend after church so I'll have a nice window before having to pick them up. I'd better get my lazy butt out of this chair and hunt down my yarn then. Bye!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm following along with Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor again and posting my favorite photo(Friday's Favorite Photo is what she called it, I think).

(Sarah with Tom several Autumns ago)

In other news...

A friend of mine offered up a front door for free so we drove waaaay across town to look at it and will pick it up tomorrow. Its a brick red with about a 2/3 total length leaded glass insert. Just gorgeous! There are a few cosmetic things to fix(some glue runs and a loose molding) and we'll have to frame our door with a 1x2 or something because its 1.25 inches narrower than our current door. I can't wait to work on it and get it installed though, I've been pricing these kinds of doors for a while now and just couldn't see getting one, ever.

This friend has 4 chickens and a rooster so she handed us half a dozen blue, green, and brown eggs to take home. I think I shall scramble them in the morning. Yum!

We swung by and took Ryan's friend home and are just now back to the house. I'm about to start on my broccoli, zucchini, rice, and cheese casserole. Guess I need to get the rice going, I keep forgetting that part!!!

It has been a beautiful day today, very sunshiney with no wind and not too much heat. I'm hoping tomorrow we can spend time outdoors.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nothing to do....

Jeanne over at Backyard Neighbor(in my side bar, I'm too tired to make a link) thought I was needing some blog fodder so she tagged me with this one! The rules are: You go to your fourth file and then the fourth photo and post it. Seeing as I don't have file folders for my pictures aside from photos and kids drawings, I'll take one from each.

(kids from February of 2004)

(I'm not sure who did this one but it was probably from 2004-05)

I'm tagging whoever wants to play along! Just leave me a comment so I can come see your picture(s)!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Yes, this is my 301st blog post and I have absolutely nothing to say. Is that terrible or what? No exciting stuff has gone on since the Yamboree. The house needs cleaned and dinner is still undecided(at 5:15pm, I've no clue, didn't plan).

Kids are zombies watching television and the cats are all fine.

I'm listening to music, waiting for Mark to come home. He's enjoying his new job very much! I'm happy that he's happy and busy.

Laundry needs done but we're out of detergent. Still no dinner plans(5:43, yes it is taking forever to get this written, cat distractions and such). I'm guessing dinner might be pick-up since we must get out for the detergent anyway.

So yep, this is the 301st post and I still have nothing to say. But, I'll leave you with a blast from the past, Halloween-style...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Weekend....

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.
- Helen Hunt Jackson, October's Bright Blue Weather

Friday morning I took the girls grocery shopping with me while Mark and Ryan stayed home. It was a beautiful mid-morning and promised to be a lovely afternoon as well. I had the bright idea that we should spend time outdoors so I called Mark from the store to see if he'd be interested. We decided to wait til Saturday and head north to the Yamboree, a local festival celebrating that wonderful cash crop of the 1930's, the Sweet Potato, which is really not a yam. The Yamboree is one of the oldest folk festivals in Texas just behind the Tyler Rose Festival and the Jacksonville Tomato Festival.

We watched the Queen's Parade, ate some fair food, rode a huge ferris wheel, gawked at the crowds, visited the exhibit halls, the ag barns and all the other things most people do at festivals. Ryan found several of his friends in the ag barns with their livestock so he was busy socializing while the girls, Mark and I petted pigs, goats, calves, and bunnies. I think Sarah would have brought a baby cow home if she could have, or a goat! Then we hit the vendor area but didn't end up finding anything we couldn't live without. One of the exibits we especially enjoyed was the junior art and photography division. There are some very talented young artists in east Texas! Amy and Sarah are wanting to enter the drawing category and maybe photography too for next year.

As you may have noticed, there are no pictures. I decided to take a break from the camera this trip. Its a big, clunky thing and I did not feel like wagging it around all day. You'll have to imagine the dappled sunlight on the courthouse lawn, the chilly breeze, the greasy food smells, laughter, screams from the scary rides, and the sound of fiddles playing. You are off the hook as far as imagining the lovely livestock smells.

On our way to the car, we stopped at the monthly flea market across from the exhibit areas. Patricia, my homeschooling friend had a booth there promoting her business, Herbal Grace. She sells mineral make-up, organic teas, soaps, and much more. I left with a new eye shadow color(nutmeg) and some fantabulous organic seasoned salt. Her soaps are to die for too, LOVE them, and we use several of her other formulas.

We also nabbed a huge bucket of sweet potatoes for $4. Wooo hooo! Could have got a bushel for $13 but I didn't think we'd eat that many. How wrong I was...

Several days ago I came across a blog post featuring sweet potato fries and Hungry Girl had mentioned butternut fries not too long ago as well. I googled to get a good idea of what to do and went for it!

I preheated the oven to 425, sliced up our two largest "yams" into french fry sized pieces, layered them on two baking sheets(it is best if they don't touch and have space between each fry). I sprayed them with butter flavor cooking spray and sprinkled them with the new seasoned salt mixed with cayenne, onion, and garlic powders, and paprika. They went into the oven on the middle and lowest racks for 15 minutes. I stirred well and switched their places on the racks, baking for another 15 minutes. We scarfed them down with ketchup and there were no more. They are woooooonderful!!!! With a texture like a steak fry, creamy and soft on the inside, but not starchy(gritty) like regular fat fries, along side frizzled spiral ham and a spinach salad, these made a wonderful meal.

Today I'm working on our bedroom. We decided to try the bed under our window but I don't know if it'll work with the kitties wanting to be in the sill at night. I've swept and thrown away a whole bagful of garbage. Mark turned off the Cowboys game, too painful to watch. He's washing his car now and Sarah's got Dirty Jobs on.

Later we'll have more ham in some form, maybe a quiche or something. I'm not sure yet. Meanwhile, back to the room for me!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Kids....

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
- George Eliot